A burn is an injury to the skin caused by heat, fire, explosions, electrocution, chemicals or radiation exposure. Minor burns usually heal without any problems, while more severe burns can lead to permanent damage to tissues, bones, tendons, muscles and nerves. In addition to the physical scars and lifelong disfigurement caused by severe burns, a burn victim is also often left with emotional and psychological damage.
Burns are classified according to the amount of damage caused to the skin and underlying structures. A superficial, or first-degree, burn will cause red, painful skin and will usually heal in a few days without any residual problems. Superficial partial thickness, or second-degree, burns cause skin redness, pain and fluid-filled blisters that can lead to infection or cellulitis. Full thickness, or third-degree, burns extend through all of the layers of skin. They can cause contractures and scarring that may require skin grafting. Severe, or fourth-degree burns, extend through all of the skin layers and deep into the muscle down to the level of the bone and can lead to amputation or death.
Skin burns can be a result of thermal, electrical, chemical or radiation exposure.
Thermal or heat-related burns
Fire and hot liquids are the most common causes of heat-related burns. Boiling liquids, steam, hot cooking oil, fireworks, explosions or any other high heat source can lead to scalding burns.
Chemical burns can be caused by many different liquids or substances that have either a strong base or a strong acid chemical composition. Common solutions include those that contain sulfuric acid, halogenated hydrocarbons, sodium hypochlorite, hydrofluoric acid and formic acid.
Electrical burn injuries are caused by exposure to high voltage electrical sources. In addition to burning the skin, electric burns can also cause fractures, muscle contractures, seizures, cardiac arrhythmias or death due to cardiac arrest.
Radiation burns are caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, arc welding, radiation therapy or radioactive nuclear fallout accidents.
Any significant burn may also lead to infections, compartment syndrome, rhabdomyolysis, blood clots, fluid imbalance, electrolyte imbalance, anemia and death. A serious burn victim is usually left with permanent physical and emotional scars.
If you or someone close to you suffered a severe burn or thermal injury please contact us at 800-243-1100 to speak with one of our experienced Philadelphia burn injury lawyers for a free consultation. We have successfully represented victims of electrocutions, fires, and gas explosions throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and across the United States.